The playa is officially washed out of my hair, I’m back to work, my clothes are unpacked, and laundry is done, so now it’s time for me to hunker down and get my health in order.
I knew exactly where to start, too. A few years ago when I was going through a nearly year-long sick phase, my good friend Sam was trying to help me get better. He introduced me to some yoga stuff (which, I’ll admit, I have not done since. Why can’t I like yoga?), but the most important introduction he made for me was this book: The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, by Vasant Lad.
According to this ancient Indian tradition, Ayurveda, there are three “doshas”, or “mind/body types.” You take a very long quiz at the beginning of the book to find out what type you are, and the rest of the book is dedicated to helping you get you and your particular dosha back in balance through natural healing with foods, herbs, exercises, etc.
You know how sometimes you can read an explanation of, say, your zodiac sign and literally your mouth is gaping because every single word is just so right on the mark? That is what happened when I took the quiz and read about my particular dosha. I gave the quiz to a friend last night and she had the same reaction. Just so right on the mark. (You can take the quiz here to find out your dosha.)
The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. I am Kapha, through and through. We tend to eat a lot and are overweight, have a slow metabolism and sleep a lot, we have strong nails and typically dark-colored hair, and we are generally emotionally stable. We also like hugs.* The sicknesses that we tend to get if our Kapha is aggravated are related to the sinuses, throat, ears and lungs. HELLO! Yes. That is me.
To help calm the Kapha in me and get more in balance, they suggest certain foods to eat and not eat. For Kapha, there is a very short list of the foods I should eat, and a very, very long list of all the foods I shouldn’t eat. Basically it can be summed up like this: Is the food item you’re about to eat sweet, salty, fatty, oily, sour, liquid or gooey? Don’t eat it. Is the food item you’re about to eat bitter or astringent? Then eat it. (Note: I don’t like bitter or astringent foods. This is perhaps why I am so often sick with Kapha type sicknesses, because I eat so much food that Kaphas shouldn’t have, I am waaaaay out of balance and have too much Kapha…..or, something.)
My list of “yes” food is pretty uninspiring, but at least I had already removed a lot of stuff Kaphas shouldn’t eat from my diet naturally over the last few months (like gluten and dairy.) Michael and I made an exhaustive spreadsheet for all the foods I CAN eat, and we will make our grocery lists by referring to it every time.
The book has a lot more than just food lists, and I’m working my way through those parts as well. Did you know Kapha doshas are aggravated by living in damp places? Like SF? Yeah. It’s not easy information to take, but it feels good to take control of something in my life when that something has been controlling me instead. Plus, I’m always up for a challenge.
So, here’s to health!